A number of our recent posts have focused on job search as a sales and marketing exercise. It’s also an exercise in telling your story in a factual and cohesive way. That means gathering your information and thinking through your message strategically. So this week, I want to revisit some of the key information you may want to pull together before writing your resume and profile, speaking with a writer or coach, and then applying for and interviewing for work. Here are five items to start with:
- Contact information
- Your job target
- Professional experience
- Business and professional achievements
- Relevant credentials
All of this sounds easy. Our career blog, and probably every other blog and job search book discusses them. But job seekers still get the basics wrong.
A marketing mantra is “make it easy for the customer to buy.” For job seekers, making it “easy for the customer to buy” means making certain you can be reached. We’ll review some “rules of thumb” for providing your name, telephone number, and address on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Name: Always display your full first and last name on your resume and LinkedIn profile. You may put a nickname, or name you prefer to use at work in parentheses. LinkedIn requires your real name–no pseudonyms–and no additional information (with the exception of credentials such as “MBA”) in the name field. Members have told me they have been penalized for adding additional information to the name field on their profile.
Phone Number: Most of us have smartphones so place this number on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Now that many of us are back in our workplaces, it may be unrealistic to pick up all calls right away. Respond to calls from perspective employers, recruiters, and industry contacts during your next break.
Acquire an online phone number through Skype, Google, or another service if you cannot use a cell phone number.
Email Address: The best practice is to use a Gmail address that includes your name, if available. Don’t use your company email for job search even if your organization permits you to do so.
Home Address: You no longer need to list your full home address on either your resume or LinkedIn profile. Recruiters have told me they do find it useful to have your zip code for their database, though. Those of us that have not done a job search in the past decade may find this new.
Include your contact information in the “About” section of your LinkedIn profile so your readers do not need to scroll back to your LinkedIn Intro Card.
We’ve said many times in blog posts that you should have a job target in order to create an effective resume. Otherwise, you cannot include the best keywords to make sure hiring managers see your resume and profile. Additionally, you won’t know what experience and accomplishments to emphasize. So, although we no longer include objective statements on resumes, it is vital for you to have a job target in mind.
Prospective employers expect to see professional experience on your resume whether you have had extensive paid employment or not. As discussed in detail on other posts, you can include volunteer experience, internships and work-study assignments, military service, and even projects you have done for friends and family when you do not have much work experience, or have employment gaps.
On the other hand, many of us have decades of work experience. As I discussed with a job seeker on the phone yesterday, the jobs we are most proud of are sometimes those we worked in back in the last century.
There is no hard-and-fast rule about how many years we are “allowed” to go back on the resume and profile. Remember, though, that your resume is not a biography, so you do not need to include every job since you finished school. You’ll need to use judgement and include the most recent and relevant jobs and related professional experience.
An experienced coach and resume writer will help you sort out what to include.
The most important information for your resume, LinkedIn profile, meetings with your network, and job interviews is your business accomplishments. Be prepared to tell everyone your unique contributions to the job. What did you do at work that made money or saved money for your employer? You will find much more information on how to write business accomplishments here.
Often, I receive resumes from job seekers that enumerate the tasks and responsibilities in their job descriptions. It is useful to include a few sentences describing the scope and purpose of your job in the resume—this can add valuable keywords. Just remember that the main goal is to differentiate yourself from other job candidates, and not to tell hiring managers what they already know or can readily look up online.
While I’ve been told many times that employers place the most value on professional experience, and skills gained through experience, credentials are still incredibly important. Labor Department research we summarized in our Guide to the Post Pandemic Job Market demonstrates that you are likely to make more money with more education, so document your highest level of formal schooling on your resume and profile.
As usual, we are not providing an all-inclusive list of everything you will need to include on your resume and profile. As you do research, you will find endless resume “rules.” My experience has shown that few “rules” work for every resume. Use your best judgement, and then consult with experts for their best judgement.